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Learn about your biopsy

Wes & Jan Houser Women's Pavilion offers the Mammotome® Breast Biopsy System, a minimally invasive system that provides safe and accurate biopsies. Because the entire procedure is performed through a small probe that is inserted into a single incision about the size of a match head, pain, scarring, and recovery time are all minimized.

Here's what you or someone you care about can expect when undergoing a breast biopsy using the Mammotome system.


1. Patient positioning depends on the imaging method used. If the procedure uses ultrasound imaging, a doctor will obtain images of the breast tissue while the patient lies on her back. In stereotactic procedures, patients lie facedown on a special table. The woman's breast protrudes through a hole in the table's surface, where it is lightly compressed and immobilized while a computer produces detailed images of the abnormality.

2. The patient is given a mild sedative and an analgesic (such as Tylenol) to reduce anxiety and discomfort.

The Procedure

3. Once the area to be biopsied has been located and mapped, the Mammotome probe is inserted through a small one-fourth-inch incision in the breast.

4. When the probe is positioned at the area of concern, it gently vacuums, cuts, and removes tissue samples for examination. The samples pass through the hollow chamber of the probe into a collection chamber. Because the Mammotome probe is directional, we can collect multiple specimens without having to remove and reinsert the device.



5. To continue to monitor your breast health following a breast biopsy using the Mammotome system, the doctor may place a small stainless steel MicroMark® II Tissue Marker to identify the biopsy site. While this tiny marker is undetectable to the patient, it enables a physician to keep track of an abnormality in future mammograms.

6. The Mammotome probe is removed after the samples have been collected, and the single incision is closed with a small adhesive bandage.

Mammotome Facts

  • More than 750,000 women have had successful breast biopsies using the Mammotome procedure since 1996. 
  • The Mammotome Breast Biopsy System is offered in approximately 1,600 hospitals, breast centers, and physician offices. 
  • Breast biopsies using the Mammotome system are performed in an outpatient setting or doctor's office under local anesthesia. 
  • Tissue samples collected using the Mammotome system are just as reliable as open surgical biopsies and three times more accurate than core needle biopsies in the diagnosis of conditions associated with early breast cancer.
  • The Mammotome system is suitable for sampling breast abnormalities including microcalcifications, spiculated masses, asymmetric densities, multifocal disease, and diffuse tissue.
  • Approximately 95 to 99 percent of all health insurance plans cover breast biopsies using the Mammotome system.
  • Patients can return to normal daily activity immediately following a breast biopsy using the Mammotome system.

This Mammotome information is provided courtesy of Ethicon Endo-Surgery.

Wes & Jan Houser Women's Pavilion
Freeman Women's Center
1532 W. 32nd Street
Joplin, Missouri